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How to Get a Copy of My DD-214: A Step-by-Step Guide

December 7, 2023

“How to get a copy of my DD-214” is a common concern of veterans who need this vital document for accessing various benefits, job applications, and other purposes post-service. The DD-214, officially known as the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, is the most important document for any veteran, serving as the definitive record of their military service.

Whether you've misplaced your copy or need it for the first time, this guide provides a straightforward path to obtaining your DD-214, ensuring you have access to the benefits and recognition you've earned through your service.

How to Get a Copy of Your DD-214?

“Keep the DD-214 in a safe place to avoid losing the document and you peace of mind!”

There are two ways to get a copy of your DD-214. This includes the online method and the mail method.

Online Method

To obtain the DD-214, visit the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website.1 

  • Under the "Veterans" tab, select "Request Military Records."

  • If you're a first-time user, create a new account. Existing users can simply log in.

  • Fill out the Standard Form 80 (SF-80) with all required details.

  • Once the form is filled, submit it online.

Mail Method

If you prefer to snail mail your request, simply download the SF-80 form from the NARA website. 

  • Fill in the form carefully, ensuring all information is accurate.

  • Mail the completed form to the National Personnel Records Center at the following address:

National Personnel Records Center
Attn: Request Fulfillment (414)
8600 West Service Road
P.O. Box 6232
St. Louis, MO 63132-0232

Processing Time

Expect a 3-4 weeks processing time for mail requests. You can check the status online or by calling the NPRC at 314-801-0800.

Additional Options

  • Other ways to request the form are through the milConnect website.2

  • They can also reach out to the County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) for assistance in obtaining military records, offering guidance and support.

  • For additional help, contact the VA National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.

Important Tips

“Veterans can track the status of their application online or via phone.”

  • Ensure all information provided in the form is correct to avoid delays.

  • Once you receive your DD-214, keep it in a safe place, as it is an essential document for various veteran-related processes.

What Does the DD-214 Include?

The DD-214 form is a comprehensive summary of a veteran's military career. It includes several key pieces of information that are crucial for veterans as they transition back into civilian life and seek to take advantage of various benefits. Notable details in the DD-214 include:

  • Service Dates: The form lists the start and end dates of the veteran's active duty service.

  • Branch of Service and Rank: It specifies the branch of the military in which the veteran served, as well as the rank held at the time of discharge.

  • Reason for Discharge: The DD-214 indicates the nature of the discharge (honorable, general, other than honorable, dishonorable, or bad conduct), which can affect eligibility for certain benefits.

  • Military Education and Training: Details about the training and education received during service, which can be valuable for employment and educational opportunities.

  • Awards and Decorations: The form lists all medals, badges, commendations, and honors the veteran received.

  • Duty Assignments and Locations: It includes a record of where and in what capacities the veteran served.

  • Service-Specific Information: Depending on the branch of service, other relevant information may be included.

This information makes the DD-214 an essential document for veterans, as it serves as proof of military service and qualifications. It is frequently required for VA benefits, employment purposes, joining veterans’ organizations, and more.

Concluding Thoughts: Navigating the Process of Obtaining Your DD-214

In conclusion, understanding how to get a copy of your DD-214 is crucial for veterans who need to access the benefits and opportunities they are entitled to after service. Whether you choose the online or mail method, the process is designed to be user-friendly and accessible. Remember, accurate and thorough completion of your application is key to avoiding delays. With your DD-214 in hand, you can confidently access the services and recognition you deserve as a veteran.

Are you a veteran struggling with hearing loss? Read our article on how to avail a VA claim for hearing loss and get the tips to navigate the process effectively.

Michael Blair contributes his expertise to help veterans access government benefits and resources. Through his informative articles and guides, he plays a vital role in empowering veterans and improving their quality of life.
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